Sexual homicide: Implications of recent research for theory and practice

Dr Raj Darjee1

1Forensicare, Clifton Hill, Australia


Sexual homicide is considered by some the ne plus ultra of crime, eliciting strong feelings of fear, revulsion, fascination and excitement in the public and professionals alike. Empirical research on sexual homicide started with the activities of the FBI in the 1970s, initiating the conflation of sexual homicide with serial murder. Clinical descriptions of sexual homicide actually go back to Krafft-Ebing, Hirschfeld, De River and Revitch in the late 1800s and early 1900s. However until recently there has been very little sound empirical research to guide theoreticians, investigators, clinicians and the criminal justice system. In this presentation I will highlight key findings from recent international research on sexual homicide offenders and offenses, including research I have undertaken with clinical and police samples in Scotland. I will describe sexual homicide offenders and their offences; examine what differentiates them from non-homicidal sexual offenders and from non-sexual homicide offenders; look at the heterogeneity of sexual homicide offenders; outline what differentiates sadistic, serial and child murder cases; consider female offenders; and look at international comparative research. I will aim to dispel certain myths, highlight what we know and do not know, and discuss the implications of empirical findings for theory, policy and practice.


Raj is a forensic psychiatrist with the Forensicare Problem Behaviour Program and senior research fellow at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University. He has extensive experience as both a clinician, researcher, teacher and service developer in forensic psychiatry. He has over 60 publications, his recent research is on sexual violence and sexual homicide, and his clinical expertise is in assessing and managing sexual and violent offenders with paraphilias and/or personality disorders. He recently moved to Melbourne after working for almost 20 years in forensic psychiatry in Scotland.

Recent Comments
    Recent Comments